Tom Ingram was staying positive after the British Touring Car Championship races at Thruxton ‘didn’t quite deliver’ for the Excelr8 Motorsport driver, after he ‘only’ lost three points in the championship battle.
Ingram left his second visit to Thruxton with a better score than in May, but his best finish of the weekend was sixth in race two, having also been ninth in the opening race and seventh in race three.
Having not yet won a race at the high-speed Hampshire circuit since switching to Hyundai machinery last year, Ingram went into the early part of the weekend with confidence high, believing he could challenge for pole.
In the end, Ingram was outside the top ten in qualifying – down in 13th – after an overheating issue which leaked water onto his tyres.
Having made progress in the first two races of the day, gearbox issues in race three caused the 29-year-old to slip back from a high of fourth on the opening lap to take the chequered flag in seventh.
“Thruxton was a weekend that promised so much but ultimately, didn’t quite deliver for us,” said Ingram. “It was a real swings-and-roundabouts story in terms of the championship picture.
“While on the surface, it would be easy to be disappointed with our results, the reality is we’ve actually only lost three points in the title standings so in the grand scheme of things, it could have been much worse.
“I was really excited heading into the weekend; Thruxton is such a mega circuit and one I always love going to, and we worked really hard on our pre-event preparations.
“The Hyundai felt absolutely incredible in FP1 – the best car I’ve ever driven around there – and we genuinely believed we were on for pole position.
“But despite making no changes and nothing really changing in the track conditions either, it felt completely different in qualifying and we obviously came up some way short.
“The engine issue definitely played a part in that, but I don’t think it was the full cause of our lack of pace.
“We had to put that behind us on Sunday, crack on and try to recover as best we could.
“It’s never easy to overtake at Thruxton, but we went into race day fully focussed on fighting our way up the order and we picked up a decent haul of points – despite grappling with understeer in race one and oversteer in race two.
“A large part of success in the BTCC is down to making the most of your bad days, and all things considered, I think we did a solid job.
“Then in race three, we had a gearbox problem that kicked in after the first few laps, which was even more frustrating as the car felt the best it had all day!
“That kind of summed Thruxton up for us; it was one of those weekends where – FP1 aside and for a variety of reasons – it felt like we were trying to push water uphill.
“While we’ve had the wind knocked out of our sails slightly and lost a bit of momentum, that will only make us even more determined to bounce back.”
With Thruxton out of the way, Ingram – who is still just 18 points from the championship lead – heads to Silverstone for the penultimate meeting later in September with optimism, as he has claimed five wins there since 2016.
“I’m still very confident because when the Hyundai is on-song, we know just how phenomenal it is and I really enjoy this part of the season – digging deep for those crucial last few points is a challenge I relish.
“Silverstone and Brands Hatch GP are both tracks that should play to our strengths and where I’ve gone well in the past, so it’s full-scale attack from hereon in.
“Let’s see where that leaves us after the final flag falls…”